Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Now I've Gone and Done It

There's a three-month-old baby living with us.


This is Turbo!

He is from the pet store, and I met him there about a week ago. I thought he was sweet and friendly (and he reminded me of my beloved childhood cat). The Hubby and I had been talking about getting a kitten for a few months, thinking that our 11-year-old cat Dino would enjoy some companionship (I should now change that to "hoping," though). We also thought it would be fun for the people in the family!

I told The Hubby about this kitten, but then I hesitated, thinking that I should go to the Humane Society instead. I thought about it for a few days, and decided to go back to the pet store, since I knew he was friendly and since he had been an abandoned kitty and would end up at the Humane Society anyway if no one bought him.

I wanted to surprise the kids. So, while the girls were at gymnastics class on Monday, The Boy and I went to the pet store and got him. Then, when the girls came out of class, I was holding our pet carrier and The Boy was shouting, "we got a new kitty!" It took a minute to sink in, but then there was much jumping up and down and cheering!

It was hard to concentrate on homework (or much of anything) the rest of the evening. The New Kitten did a lot of exploring, and a lot of LOUD purring. I remarked to The Boy, "he has a loud motor!" and The Boy liked the idea of a cat having a motor.

We couldn't focus enough to think of a name that night, although Big Girl wanted him to have a name before she went to school in the morning. But we didn't want to rush into anything!

Big Girl asked everyone at school for name ideas, wrote them down, and came home with a long list of suggestions. I came up with a list of ideas, too.

We were thinking of things like Smokey, Stormy, Rocky, Dusty, Thunder, Diesel, Harley... Basically, names inspired by either the gray color or by the loud "motor." Turbo was decided upon, being nobody's favorite, but one that everybody liked.

This is a snuggly kitten who loves people. Can you tell?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Time Alone with The Boy

We actually have time alone together every Tuesday and Thursday morning, but we had some unexpected time together when Middle Girl went over to a friend's house for lunch.

The Boy got to choose what he wanted to eat for lunch, and he decided on scrambled eggs, and asked if he could help make them.

I don't usually have the kids help prepare the food, just because I don't think I can keep tabs on them well enough; but with only one, it's really fun to have them help make the meal!

The Boy cracked the eggs and beat them with the whisk. While I tended to them on the stove, he did a very careful job cutting up cucumbers!

We sat down to enjoy our lunch together, and as you might guess, this time he didn't resist eating anything on his plate! He was excited about those cucumbers!

A simple thing can be really nice.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The World is Waiting

Weekend viewing

We watched the movie "Persepolis." It's stunning and fantastic! It is visually gripping, clever, a real work of art. I found the ending to be abrupt, but overall I enjoyed the experience.

Tonight I watched the season premiere of "The Amazing Race." Ah, I love this show! It feels so good when the race starts. "Good Luck. Travel Safe.... GO!" I love hearing those words!

I first saw "The Amazing Race" in the hospital after The Boy was born. I believe it was Season Six. (Tonight we started Season Thirteen.) I was instantly hooked, and continued to watch it when we were home, and I was nursing him at bed time.

That was also when I got hooked on my other reality show LOVER, "Project Runway." It was the middle of the night, I was up for a feeding, and I turned on "Project Runway." After that episode ended, another came on, and I kept watching! That was Season One. (Right now we are in Season Five.)

Ah, memories! (Sing it with me...)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Walking to Kindergarten Pick-Up

Walking down the street at noon each day, on my way to pick up Middle Girl at Kindergarten, I have a warm fuzzy feeling. I can't wait to see her! Walking along, thinking about how she'll see me at the classroom door, and come running to me with a huge smile because she had a fun day at school, and how I'll hear all about it as we walk back home. I walk hand in hand with The Boy, while he tells me that he can't wait to turn four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, but then stops and looks up at me and says, "but WHY do I have to be twelve? I don't like all of those numbers. I just want to be ten." And I say, "Okay, then you can!" as I chuckle to myself and continue thinking of Middle Girl, and now we're getting very close to seeing her!

And then, when I get there, and the classroom door opens, I see her waiting with her bright hopeful eyes looking for me. Then she hurries out to where I am standing... and...

whines. "Mommy, I want to have a playdate right now." "Mommy, I don't want to have a rest today." "Mommy, I'm hungry." "Mommy, I'm upset because so-and-so and so-and-so are having a playdate." "Mommy, school is boooorrriiiing." "Mommy, it's hot."

And then, the next day, as I walk to pick her up at noon, I find myself smiling as I look forward to seeing her and hearing her tell me how much fun she had at school.

Beyond all reason, I guess I am a Mothering Optimist.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hightailing it to Adventureland

This weekend, we spent a day at Disneyland. The Hubby's company had arranged for everyone to go. After arriving and picking up our tickets, they handed everyone a cap with the company logo on it. The company is very secretive and does not put their name on anything -- just the logo which is a simple shape.

So ... there were thousands of us roaming around Disneyland and California Adventure that day, wearing identical caps embroidered with the simple shape. Like some sort of Cult of the Trapezoid had come to melt the minds of everyone waiting in the lines.

We had a Disneyland Day Full of Firsts!
We went on the Finding Nemo ride for the first time, as well as the Toy Story Mania ride (which was definitely the winner out of those two new ones).
We discovered that The Boy measures right up to the line, as in the You Must Be This Tall To Ride This Ride line! That was a very exciting discovery!
With this new knowledge, we decided to take everybody on Space Mountain. Yes, this would be a first for all three kids... BUT ... there is a story. First of all, to understand the story, you must know that the cars on Space Mountain are three rows of two seats. And we have two parents and three kids in our family. OK, and ... scene: We are getting close to the front of the line. The girls are getting nervous and both say they will only go on if they can sit next to Daddy or Mommy. The Boy is saying he wants to go on the ride, but 1) he is three, and 2) he doesn't know what he is getting himself into (he has no idea what this ride is). So Mommy and Daddy want him to sit next to one of us. We suggest that the girls sit together and have Mommy and The Boy in the row in front of them, and Daddy in the row behind them. The ride attendant sends us to Lanes 1-3. The girls say NOOOOOOOOOOOO! THEY EACH NEED TO SIT NEXT TO A PAAAAARRRRREEEEEEEENNNTT! The car is ready for us to board. It is decided (real fast) that Mommy and The Boy need to hop in and Daddy will wait with the girls for us to come out and then go on. So Mommy and The Boy hop in.

Well, what do you think? Did The Boy enjoy his first time on Space Mountain?

No, he did not.
I couldn't see him in the dark during the ride, so I held his hand and shouted "Wheee!" the whole time so he would feel me in the dark and hear that I was having fun, in case he was feeling scared, but I had absolutely no idea if he was liking it or not. He wasn't making any sound. At the end, I asked him if he liked it, and he very calmly said, "No, I didn't like that one. I do not want to ride it again." He didn't seem upset, but he definitely stuck to that opinion.

Now it was time for the rest of our group to ride. When we saw Daddy and the girls, The Boy informed them that "That ride is too scary." Middle Girl decided she did not want to find out for herself, which was perfect because Daddy could go with Big Girl and I could wait with Middle Girl and The Boy.

So what do you think? Did Big Girl enjoy her first time on Space Mountain?

OH, YES. Yes, she did!
She was exhilarated and declared it her favorite of the day! Way to go, Big Girl!

Another first was on Soarin' Over California. This one is a big family favorite, and since The Boy was finally tall enough, we could all go on together for the first time! It was fantastic, of course, and The Boy loved it!

We also got to eat dinner at the Blue Bayou restaurant. It was everyone's first time except for me (growing up, my family ALWAYS ate dinner there, every time we went to Disneyland). Since the company Day at Disneyland had been planned quite some time ago, I had been able to call ahead and make reservations, and I was very excited to eat there again, like coming home after all these years! When we walked in, the darkness and mood made Middle Girl nervous, but I assured her that we would just be enjoying the peaceful nighttime river scene with the pretty lanterns strung above our heads, watching the boats go by... we would not see the boats go down the waterfalls to where the Pirates of the Caribbean are. After reassuring her that we did not have to go on the Pirates ride, we could just eat here and then walk back out the door, she was fine and we all enjoyed our yummy dinners and our dessert shaped like a pirate ship.

There was another first, an unfortunate one that I could have lived without.
The last thing we did was go to the Enchanted Tiki Room, even though The Boy had already said he was tired and wanted to go. Since both Middle Girl and The Boy looked like they were sleeping with their eyes open through the Tiki Room, and Main Street was filling up with people sitting and waiting for the fireworks, we decided we had better book it out of Disneyland or we might not be able to get out until after the fireworks.
We got out of the park and I realized that I did not have our bag. I had left it sitting in the Tiki Room. The Hubby and I looked at each other, trying to figure out if we could leave anyway, not wanting to deal with how to get it. When we realized the car keys were in it (and since we preferred to keep our camera), we knew I had to run back inside.
And RUN I did. Swimming upstream against the flow of the crowds (after waiting in line to get in the gates - ugh), I hightailed it into Adventureland. At the Tiki Room, I told the guy "I left my bag in there!" and he pulled it out of a storage closet! Huzzah!
I called The Hubby to tell him SUCCESS! ON MY WAY BACK TO PARK EXIT! and ran back out to the family. Hubby was Shocked, Shocked I Tell You that I had been so fast. "You must have run!" he said.

OK, so first time leaving the bag inside Disneyland and having to go back in for it ten minutes before fireworks. AND THE LAST TIME.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ike and my IRL blogger friend

Update! My friends rode out the storm at a hotel further inland. The hotel roof sustained more damage than their own house in the evacuation zone! They have lots of cleanup to do, but the damage seems to be confined to the fence in the back yard.

I have a friend who lives in the Houston-Galveston area. She is a professor of marine biology, one of my heroes, and one of those soul-mate type friends.

I don't know if she has been evacuated... I am thinking about her constantly and hoping to get some news soon.

I found out very recently that her husband has a blog for the Houston Chronicle. Daddy Daze is about being the father of a three-year old daughter. He has spent some of those years as the primary caregiver, and I love him almost as much as I love his wife. The sadness I felt when they moved away from here is still raw, five years after the fact!

Hurrah for blogging Daddies!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Wednesday, The Boy's second day of preschool, I did manage to "get something done." I went to Home Depot and bought a bunch of new flowers to replace all of the dead things in my front yard. Today (with my little digging helper) I dug out a bunch of the dead stuff and old roots and tried to loosen up some dirt, and then ran out of time. It might be alright - I think that the gardener will plant them when he comes by in the morning, because sometimes he does that if he finds new flowers that I haven't planted yet. But also? Sometimes he doesn't. Yeah, I don't know and I don't have a clear idea of what it is we pay him to do!

Also at Home Depot the other day, I bought a towel bar. See, the story is that over the summer I bought a towel bar to match the towel ring in our upstairs bathroom, and handed it to The Hubby: "install this while I'm in Oregon."

And then when he did, I saw that I bought the wrong finish. Satin Nickel and Chrome do not match. The Hubby did not notice this. (Men!)

I'm sure you'll agree that I could not live with non-matching towel holders in one bathroom! But I didn't want The Hubby to find out that I had bought the wrong one (I have my pride, yo).

So, I bought the correct one and installed it myself.

Sneakin' around, saving my home-decorating face!

So have you ever been at Home Depot with a big bag of soil or something, and no one offers to help you get it in your car? Well, I'm probably to blame for that. You see, I had a big bag of bark in my cart, and as I pulled up to my trunk, the man leaving the car next to mine offered to help me with the bag. "No, thanks, I don't need any help!" I said. "I put it in the cart, I can get it out." And I swung that thing in my trunk easy as pie! (Dear Guy at Home Depot: it was nice of you to offer. I am sorry I responded with such attitude. I have a thing about doing things for myself. Please don't let this experience stop you from offering to help people in the future!)

The Boy update: The Boy made a new friend at preschool on Wednesday. (Yay!) He has an unusual name. The Boy cannot remember this name, and asked me "What is his name again? My friend?" approximately 482 times today.

Middle Girl update: Middle is liking Kindergarten and making new friends, as expected! Emotions-wise, she may be doing a little better... The tummy hasn't been bothering her, but she is still crying and clingy. Time will tell...

Big Girl update: Let's just say that apparently third grade = all grown up.

Upcoming weekend: We are driving upstate (ha, we don't actually say that out here) to The Hubby's cousin's wedding. We are looking forward to seeing my mother-in-law for a couple of days. Unlike several others, I am looking forward to this wedding, because there has been some family drama surrounding these wedding plans and since it's not my family (and I no longer have to sing in the wedding), I can just sit back and watch the show!

Monday, September 8, 2008

The First Day of School

Middle Girl was up bright and early, eager to get dressed in her crisp, new hand-me-down uniform.

She seemed excited, but not nervous.

The Hubby went into work late today so he could accompany us on the big first day.

Seeing my two girls, both smartly dressed in their school uniforms, took my breath away just as much as the sudden realization during breakfast that it would be just The Boy and I walking back home, for the first time. Whoa.

In the Kindergarten classroom, she did get a bit nervous. No one but her parents would have noticed, because she hides it well. All of the parents were very nicely asked to head out, and Kindergarten began!

At pick-up time, she was ready to come home. She said she liked Kindergarten and was excited to go back tomorrow, but she seemed a little tired and reserved. When we got home, there was a cookie bouquet waiting for her, sent by my mother-in-law. The Hubby called to talk to Middle Girl and hear about her day. "It was good."

Day One went well.

As for The Boy, well, there were some tears at preschool drop-off. I stayed for a few minutes to watch him (he couldn't see me), and seeing him kind of wander around the playground alone, trying to figure out what to play with, made me a bit sad - so I left. I knew it was fine (he really doesn't mind playing by himself, unlike Middle Girl, and the other kids looked pretty much the same), but I still found it hard to watch.

When I picked him up, he was actively participating in Story Time, and the teacher told me he was shy for most of the morning but had started to warm up near the end and even played with another child. He tells us he likes preschool, but he's glad he gets a day off tomorrow.

And what did I do with my morning? You know, I was kind of drained so I went home and just sort of sat there. I'll "get things done" in the upcoming days, but I didn't expect that from myself on this first day!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Tomorrow is the big day

One more day until Kindergarten.

Since Middle Girl's drama and tears are still going strong, The Hubby and I are glad that it's almost here.

I still can't stop saying that I "never would have guessed" that she would have trouble with this. It seems out of character for her.

You think you know your children's personalities, and they go and change the game on you!


In related news, tomorrow is also The Boy's first day of preschool. I am feeling more confident about that than I was a few days ago, because Friday was his Visiting Day. He didn't want to go, and held my leg and buried his face in me when we went there, but by the time we left, he was telling me how much he likes his teachers and his classroom. We gave Daddy a call so The Boy could tell him all about it.

I'm sure he'll be nervous again at drop-off, but Visiting Day was definitely a good thing!


Today we're doing a whole lot of nothing, which I think is good for Middle Girl. We're just having Unscheduled Family Time around the house: swimming, playing pretend with the siblings, coloring, reading books. Nice and low-key.


Wish us good luck for tomorrow morning!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The First Day of School (for Big Girl)

Yesterday, Wednesday, was Big Girl's first day of third grade! She is so excited about the year, her teacher, learning cursive... She's feeling very big because "we're the oldest on the playground!" (Her school divides recess and lunch so that grades 1-3 are on the playground together. The older grades have their recess and lunch at a slightly different time.)

During the summer, we updated her uniforms, buying new ones in a bigger size. Well, not exactly a bigger size, because the uniform store has changed vendors and they use a different pattern for the jumpers. It's still a size 8, but it's cut VERY differently. Seeing her in her new jumper yesterday, I decided that it didn't fit her right. It was just too long, and she looked kind of silly.

So, last night, even though I had ALREADY taken in her skorts (this kid is very thin and has no tush), I hauled out the sewing machine again. I took up the jumpers' hems (having to re-press the pleats), and took in a little at the waistline so the torso portion wouldn't be so long.

Mission accomplished!


Tuesday was "Drop-In Day," when the kids stop by school in the morning to say hello to their new teacher and put their supplies in their desk. The Hubby and I walked over with both girls. The Boy had no patience for it, but was forced to come along.

It seemed to help somewhat with Middle Girl's fears and worries, especially since her friend A. will be sitting at the same table.

The poor thing is so worried about Kindergarten, and has been since June, that she has given herself an anxious tummy. The butterfly feeling makes her cry even more. It's been a tough week so far, and even though talking through her fears (she's worried that no one will play with her, that she will get in trouble with the teacher, that Kindergarten will be too hard...) really does help, every day a new fear seems to crop up. This is when I really earn my Mommy pay.

At our school, Kindergarten starts the week after the rest of the school. (Middle Girl's first day will be Monday.) I think this is smart, because the rest of the school gets the first-days-energy out of the way before the Kindergarteners arrive with their own crazy energy. I think it helps make the atmosphere a little calmer for the little ones.

However, this year I have discovered that it's not so great. Yesterday, when we woke up to take Big Girl to school, Middle Girl said, "I wish I was going to school too!" and I realized that she really wants to get rid of these fears! She wants to just go to Kindergarten and see what it's like so she can stop worrying! Oh, man, now you can't imagine how much I am wishing the same thing.

Just a few more days...
(Deep breath)